Blood and Plasma Collection

Interim Infection Control Guidance on COVID-19 for Personnel at Blood and Plasma Collection Facilities

Key Concepts in This Guidance

  • Protect the health of staff, volunteers, and donors by reinforcing adherence to routine infection prevention and control measures, including hand hygiene practices, environmental infection control, and PPE.
  • Support and educate staff and volunteers about the symptoms of COVID-19 so that they can evaluate themselves and donors for symptoms and set up the facility to minimize spread.

It is essential to continue collecting blood and blood components to support healthcare delivery. This guidance is for administration, staff, and volunteers at blood and plasma collection facilities.

Public health guidance may shift. Be aware of updates to local and state public health recommendations and if COVID-19 becomes more widespread and/or more clinically severe.

CDC is working with FDA, state and local health departments, and other HHS agencies to monitor COVID-19 and its potential impact on blood availability and blood safety. CDC and other HHS agencies are also continuing to work with the AABB Interorganizational Disaster Task Force to enhance preparednesspdf iconexternal icon.

Infection Control and Environmental Management

This information reinforces routine measures that are currently followed by blood centers, provides additional public health measures, and complements CDC’s interim infection prevention and control recommendations. Refer to FDA’s recommendations for donor and product managementexternal icon. These measures will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Adhere to Respiratory Hygiene/Cough Etiquette and Standard Precautions

Adhere to routine infection control procedures, including appropriate respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette and sharps handling precautions for preventing the transmission of infectious agents.

Follow Routine Hand Hygiene Practices

Follow hand hygiene guidance to help prevent person-to-person spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. Staff should wash hands with soap and water between contacts with different blood donors. If gloves are used, change gloves and cleanse hands between contact with different blood donors.

With regard to staff safety, the wearing of gloves and hand cleansing are governed by OSHA requirements pertaining to bloodborne pathogens in 29 CFR 1910.1030(c)(3)(ix) and 29 CFR 1910.1030 (d)(iii)–(vi) respectively.

Implement Environmental Infection Control

Clean and disinfect environmental surfaces in accordance with standard facility protocols after each donor has vacated the station and before setting up for arrival of a new donor at that station. Ensure that environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures are followed consistently and correctly.

Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures are appropriate in healthcare settings, including those patient-care areas in which aerosol-generating procedures are performed (e.g., using cleaners and water to pre-clean surfaces prior to applying an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant to frequently touched surfaces or objects for appropriate contact times as indicated on the product’s label).

Refer to List N for EPA-registered disinfectantsexternal icon that have qualified under EPA’s emerging viral pathogens program for use against SARS-CoV-2.

Stay Home When Sick

Assess yourself each day before leaving for work for symptoms consistent with COVID-19. If experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms, remain at home and contact the established point of contact (public health authorities or their facility’s occupational health program) for medical evaluation prior to returning to work. If symptoms develop while at work, cease collection facility activities, notify supervisor, minimize contact with others in facility, and go home promptly.

Know the Latest on Deferral of Blood and Plasma Donors

Follow current recommendations for the screening and potential deferral of blood and plasma donors, available in FDA’s Updated Information for Blood Establishments Regarding the Novel Coronavirus Outbreakexternal icon.

Take Steps to Support and Educate Staff and Volunteers

  • Designate a time to meet with your staff and volunteers to educate them on COVID-19 and what they may need to do to prepare.
  • Talk to them about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and actions blood collection centers are taking to protect them.
  • Instruct staff and volunteers not to report to work when ill. Implement and reinforce sick leave policies that are non-punitive, flexible, and consistent with public health guidance.
  • Evaluate staff, volunteers, and prospective donors for COVID-19-like symptoms as they enter the collection site. Ask individuals with COVID-19-like symptoms to leave to reduce the risk of viral transmission.
  • Arrange seating for prospective donors in the waiting area at least 6 feet apart prior to implementing donor questionnaire.
  • Adjust the physical configuration of the donor cots during blood collection so that donors are at least 6 feet apart.
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